Eroglu alleged that the Greek Cypriots try to reduce the status of the Turkish Cypriots to a minority. Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (09.05.11, online) reported that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has stated during a visit paid to him by a delegation from “Turkey’s retired non-commissioned officers’ Association” that the Greek Cypriot side was carrying on the Cyprus negotiations process by trying to reduce the status of the Turkish Cypriots to that of the Armenian and Maronite minorities living on the island.

Eroglu added that the Greek Cypriot side neither perceives them as a separate “state”, nor as a separate “people”.

Touching upon the Cyprus issue, Eroglu said that the Turkish Cypriots gained statehood and independence as a result of the “1974 Turkish peace operation” and expressed gratitude to the Turkish Armed Forces.

Noting that the goal was to achieve a lasting and sustainable settlement which will protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots as well as of “motherland” Turkey, Eroglu stressed that a solution in Cyprus should be reached by deriving lessons from the past and acknowledging existing realities on the island. “Time will show us whether this is possible or not” he added.

Reminding that the Greek Cypriot side, to this day, had rejected all solution plans put on the negotiating table, Eroglu said the Greek Cypriot side, which had rejected the UN-sponsored Annan Plan in 2004 had higher expectations today.

Also touching upon bilateral relations with “motherland” Turkey, he emphasized that the Turkish Cypriots have always protected their Turkish identity.

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